High Resolution 3D Optical Scanning of Crossties to Assess Cross-Sectional Parameters and the Effects of Long-Term Abrasion and Wear



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Rural Railroad Safety Center, Kansas State University.


This report documents measurement of the 3D geometrical properties associated with prestressed concrete railroad ties that have been subject to long-term in-track loading. A commercially-available 3D laser-based optical scanning system was used to scan the surface of sampled in-service crossties to a spatial resolution of about 1-mm, resulting in a 3D solid body CAD model of each scanned tie. A high-speed algorithm was developed to process the detailed cross-section geometrical parameters to an axial resolution of 0.5 inches, achieving an overall processing time of only a few minutes. The agreement between the ideal CAD model cross-section parameters and the measured (scanned) parameters was found to be excellent. Measured crosstie cross-sectional parameters used in support of on-going FRA project work included cross-sectional area, area moment of inertia, neutral axis position, eccentricity, and shape factor.



Prestressed Concrete, Railroad Ties, Crossties, 3D Optical Scanning, Geometry, Shape Factor